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In this DIY tutorial, I show you how to make a DIY epoxy resin river table using live edge wood. Also, learn various tips and techniques.
In fact, I use these epoxy river table pro tips and woodworking techniques on custom furniture for my clients.
Even if you don’t need an epoxy resin river table, the techniques covered in this DIY tutorial can be directly translated toward other epoxy or woodworking projects.
So, let’s dive right in with a full DIY video tutorial and the tools I used.
Table of Contents
- Video Tutorial: DIY Epoxy Resin River Table
- Supplies Needed for Epoxy Resin River Table
- Epoxy Wood Table
- DIY Plans: Epoxy Resin River Table with Live Edge Wood
- Clean Live Edge Wood
- Preparing Live Edge Wood Slab
- Melamine Epoxy Resin Mold
- Glow in the Dark Epoxy Resin River Table
- What is the Best Epoxy Resin for River Tables
- How To Mix Epoxy Resin
- How Much Glow Powder for Resin River Table?
- DIY Epoxy Resin River Table Pour
- Sand Epoxy River Table
- Test Epoxy Glow Powder
- How to Charge Epoxy Glow in the Dark Table
- Embedding Objects in Epoxy Resin River Table
- Fourth Epoxy Resin Pour
- Remove Epoxy River Table Mold
- Sand Resin Table Underside
- Square River Table
- Epoxy UV LED Light to
- Best Epoxy River Table Finish
- Epoxy River Table Bottom (Table Legs)
- Glow in the Dark Epoxy Table
- Final Thoughts – DIY Epoxy Resin River Table with Live Edge Wood
- Frequently Asked Questions
Video Tutorial: DIY Epoxy Resin River Table
There are several things which are difficult to fully explain with words and images, so be sure to check out the video tutorial below!
Supplies Needed for Epoxy Resin River Table
- DIY Plans for THIS Resin Table Project
- Table Top Epoxy Resin Used
- Best Epoxy Resin for Deeper Pours (UPDATED 2020)
- Glow Powder (Neutral Sky Blue)
- Fire Glass
- Hairpin Table Legs
- UV Black Light Strip
- Black Light for Testing
- Micro Butane Torch
- Hot Glue Gun
- Porter Cable Heat Gun
- CA Glue
- Silicon Caulk
- Dovetail Clamps
- Renaissance Wax
- Ryobi Circular Saw
- Straight Edge for Saw
- Mixing Sticks
- Dewalt Planer
- Air Compressor
- Air Compressor Hose & Retractable Reel
- Tack Cloth
- Carpenter’s Square
- Utility Pry Bar
- Milwaukee Orbital Sander
- Ryobi Orbital Sander
- Boeshield Rust Free
- Rubber Gloves XL
- Ear Protection
- Eye Protection
- Dust Mask
Often times, I experiment with many different products and tools while working with epoxy resin and wood.
Therefore, the products I use in a certain project may not be my favorite.
For your convenience, I’ve compiled a complete list of the best epoxy resin for river table projects.
Epoxy Wood Table
So, what makes this epoxy resin river table unique?
Glow in the Dark Table
For starters, it contains blue resin glow powder to make the resin river glow in the dark with no lights.
Embedded Objects in Epoxy Resin
Additionally, I embedded blue fire glass in the epoxy resin to add some cool effects. More on this later..
Sinker Cypress Live Edge Wood
The third characteristic that makes this river table unique is the sinker cypress wood.
Sinker Cypress is a rare and beautiful wood.
The unique grain patterns, color variations, durability, and history make sinker cypress wood tables popular among woodworkers and consumers.
I love working with live edge sinker cypress wood for dining tables, desks and entryway tables.
Unfortunately, the price of sinker cypress prevents me from using this wood more often.
The piece of live edge sinker cypress I used in this resin river table project was 48″ long and roughly 20″ wide.
DIY Plans: Epoxy Resin River Table with Live Edge Wood
I created a set of downloadable DIY plans for this project and it includes:
- 82 page PDF
- Tool List
- Material List
- Resin Calculator
- Woodworking Tips & Techniques
- Full Companion Video of Build
Clean Live Edge Wood
First, I removed the bark on the live edge of the sinker cypress slab.
The epoxy resin will not adhere properly to loose bark on a live edge.
I peeled away the loose pieces with my old chisel that I recently resharpened.
Next, I used a rubber mallet and chisel to remove the bark I couldn’t peel off.
Then, I smoothed the surface as much as I could without damaging the live edge.
Preparing Live Edge Wood Slab
I milled the sinker cypress live edge wood slab to get straight sides, a flat surface, and square ends.
Table Saw Jointing Jig
To start, I ripped the sinker cypress in half with my table saw jointing jig.
Without the table saw jointing jig, I could not secure the wood to the table saw fence because both sides had a live edge (not straight).
First,, I located the middle of the board by reading the grain pattern and measuring the front, middle, and back.
Next, I secured the sinker cypress to the jig using the dovetail clamps, raised my table saw blade, and slowly pushed it through.
Then, I verified the sides were straight by putting them against each other.
Flat Wood Surface
First, I ran the sinker cypress through my planer and removed 1/64″ with each pass.
Also, my hardwood dealer ran this wood through his planer.
In turn, I did not need to remove too much material to get a flat surface.
Next, I used my orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the loose debris from each live edge.
I secured the straight side of each piece of sinker cypress to my miter saw fence and cut each end.
Melamine Epoxy Resin Mold
I had a few scraps of melamine left from previous projects.
So, I used this to create the melamine resin mold.
How to Make a Mold for Epoxy River Tables
First, I used a piece of melamine that was long enough for the sinker cypress.
Next, I layed the live edge wood and traced it with a pencil.
Then, I removed the live edge sinker cypress from the melamine.
Seal Resin Mold
First, I placed the 2 pieces of sinker cypress back on the melamine.
Then, I lined them up with the pencil marks to ensure each end was the same length.
Next, I used hot glue to seal each end of the resin table.
I used silicone to seal the bottom of each live edge (length wise) to prevent the epoxy resin from seeping through.
How To Keep Epoxy from Leaking
Sometimes, epoxy leaks despite my best effort to prevent it from doing so.
For this project, I decided to make the underside of my table saw outfeed table as a tub to catch leaking epoxy resin.
Obviously, it’s not pretty but it works.
The underside of the table simply has 5 12″ 2×4 pieces which protrude vertically to hold pieces of various size
Ultimately, this prevents epoxy from leaking on my floor.
Glow in the Dark Epoxy Resin River Table
I wanted this epoxy resin river table look like the other table for matching/decorative purposes, but I also wanted it to be unique.
So, I decided to add glow powder, or photoluminescence powder, to the base epoxy resin layers.
As a result, the river bottom would glow from the river bottom through the fire glass.
Blue Epoxy River Table
I chose a blue glow powder to resemble the blue ocean.
To avoid a potential disaster, I tested the glow powder to verify the color before mixing it with epoxy resin.
It would be really BAD if I had the wrong color!
I purchased the glow powder from Art N Glow.
Art n Glow included a black light with my purchase, which I used to verify the color of the powder.
The glow powder is charged by UV light, sunlight, or black light.
What is the Best Epoxy Resin for River Tables
The best epoxy resin for river tables is deep pour epoxy such as Liquid Glass 2.0.
Table Top Epoxy
For this epoxy resin river table, I used ProMarine Table Top Epoxy because I had plenty left over.
However, Pro Marine only allows pours of roughly 1/4″ thick.
As a result, multiple pours are required which causes 2 issues:
- Prolongs the project b/c multiple pours are required.
- Increases the chances of making a mistake.
Best Deep Pour Epoxy
For thick epoxy pours, I recommend using SuperClear Liquid Glass Epoxy Resin.
This deep pour epoxy allows up to 4″ pours.
Deep epoxy pours save time and reduce the amount of epoxy mixing needed for projects.
How To Mix Epoxy Resin
I mixed 24 ounces of epoxy resin (12 ounces of hardener and 12 ounces of resin) per the manufacturer’s instructions which can be located on their website.
Next, I used a stir stick until the epoxy resin turned cloudy white.
It is important to stir the mixture and scrape the sides of the mixing cup.
Do NOT whip while stirring because it causes LOTS of bubbles.
Then, I added 2 ounces of blue glow powder.
How Much Glow Powder for Resin River Table?
First, art n glow recommends 1 part glow powder to 4 parts epoxy resin.
Obviously, they are aggressive with this recommendation.
After all, they want their product to perform well.
And, they like selling more glow powder.
Ultimately, I feel a 1 to 4 ratio is too much for a few reasons:
- Too much glow powder may jeopardize the epoxy resin mixture. I don’t have any proof of this, but it just seems logical to me from my experience with epoxy resin.
- Glow powder is not terribly expensive, but it isn’t cheap.
- I don’t want a bright glow; rather, I prefer a subtle glow.
A 1 to 12 ratio produces a medium glow and a 1 to 6 ratio works for a bright glow.
DIY Epoxy Resin River Table Pour
To start, I slowly poured the epoxy resin in the epoxy resin river table.
Remove Epoxy Air Bubbles
Next, I removed the bubbles and worked the material with a heat gun.
The heat gun blew material in the epoxy resin.
I forgot to wipe the table with a tack cloth before pouring the material.
So, I decided to use my micro butane torch to remove the remaining bubbles.
Second Epoxy Pour
After 24 hours, I mixed another 24 ounces of epoxy resin and 2 ounces of glow powder for the second pour.
This is the same mixture as the first pour and the same process.
However, I didn’t use the heat gun this time.
I am comfortable mixing 24 ounces of material in a single mixture due to the size of my container and mixing stick.
Sand Epoxy River Table
Normally, I perform sanding at the end of my project.
However, I used all the resin.
As a result, I sanded at this point in the project.
The sandpaper grits I used was 80 grit, 100 grit, 120 grit, 150 grit, 180 grit and 220 grit.
I knew I needed to sand more at the end, but only finish sanding (220 grit).
Keep in mind, Sinker Cypress is rather soft.
So, it doesn’t require sanding with low grits.
Once I sanded through all the grits, I wiped the wood with a damp cloth to raise the grain.
Then, I sanded with 220 grit one more time.
I used my air compressor to remove the loose debris.
Third Epoxy Resin Pour
The mixture of the third pour was exactly the same as the previous 2 pours.
I waited 24 hours after the second pour, used 24 ounces of epoxy resin, and mixed 2 ounces of glow powder.
Next, I decided to use the heat gun to move the epoxy resin around a bit since this pour was rather thick.
I removed the debris in the previous step so it was safe to use the heat gun. ;)
Test Epoxy Glow Powder
I decided to test the glow powder with a black light while it was curing in the epoxy resin river table.
Additionally, I recommend using this black light to test glow powder.
To do this, I simply shined the UV black light directly on the glow powder for roughly 10 seconds.
As I mentioned previously, the light charges the resin table glow powder.